J. G. Biberkopf

Unthinkable Nomos in Vilnius, Nov 5 – 6

3 November 2016
The Unthinkable Nomos conference, night and workshop programme is on across venues in Vilnius, running November 5 to 6.
 
The two-day event carries on the conversation around the critique and expansion of some accelerationist ideas that producer J.G. Biberkopf‘s has already been exploring musically through his ongoing Unthinkable radio series. Adding the Greek term for ‘laws’ to the title and an additional group of collaborators, Unthinkable Nomos presents a research platform examining “the problematics of the Baltics, Eastern Europe, Central Europe and the Balkans” through a constellation of artists, curators, editors, thinkers and theorists .
 
This will include a look into the lives and work of two politically-inspired creative practitioners — Daniel van der Velden of design agency Metahaven and artist and feminist activist Tanja Ostojić — to be held on the Saturday at National Gallery of Art and moderated by UK philosopher Dr. Inigo Wilkins. This is followed by a night of music and performance, featuring J. G. Biberkopf, Music For Your Plants, Aïsha Devi with Emile Barret, Dodo Mundo and Encore at Kvartalas cultural space.
 

On the Sunday there will be a workshop at Rupert interrogating four important research threads and including videocalls from Nick Srnicek and Peter Wolfendale.

See the Unthinkable Nomos website for details.**

Header image: Dodo Mundo. Courtesy the artist.

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‘Unthinkable’ w The Pitch + J.G. Biberkopf May 14 mix

23 May 2016

In partnership with aqnb, J.G. Biberkopf presents a new Unthinkable segment for NTS Radio. This month’s mix features The Pitch’s Frozen Orchestra ‘Side B’, which forms a self-styled ‘frozen surface’ piece, as distinguished by its gradual composition of slowly shifting prolonged notes. In the context of the whole, it falls at a point of intense emotion, freezing an almost sexual, post-climactic moment, where the new is not yet normal and the old not yet recovered, whereby the mix dallies with the changing, decaying and switching of intensity over time, and the physiological danger of doing so.

Also including tracks by Ssaliva, Amnesia Scanner, Uurah, WWWings, Kentje’sz Beatsz, and Elysia Crampton, the show reflects a merging of sensuous and sensual, even sexual; you could call it the yearly spring Unthinkable-as-sex-tape —an ode to the breathless demise of newly sprung flowers against early spring snow. Or, perhaps, as life and death combine, the significance of such transience only heats up, urging us to consider the intricacies of beauty and mortality.

You can here the radio mix on the NTS Radio Mixcloud or the extended version with accompanying text below:

The creation of new knowledge is an extensive quest. Essential for survival, it is a means of endurance. While sensuousness is a brief, transitory experience prescribed by feeling, reflection is accompanied by negotiation and reconciliation, which in turn is followed by submission, whereby openness is merely a resigning of oneself to the environment. In other words, while arousal to beauty depends on material pleasure, arousal to the sublime accompanies pain and tension. All of this may install a tendency to perpetuate closure, an inclination to ‘freeze’ on prior knowledge and sustain its future.

Analogous to snow —intricately branched, formed from the freezing of water vapour in the air —it exhibits elements of beauty, mortality, and timelessness that consistently allure, regardless of the inherent danger. It proposes an affair, an almost-sexual relationship, as it continues to enthral, bringing confusion while confused itself. Beautifully deadly, danger and satisfaction are tied by a continuum with the extraordinary ability to entice us and draw us toward romantic notions of our surroundings. It comes to light with suggestion and urges us to rethink. New becomes old. It dissolves and is recovered. It feels erotic, moving us to take pleasure in its dissipation. Still, it is capable of charming us into inescapable annihilation while, at the same time, thawing itself.

In a changeable course of reflection it freezes and becomes scattered, while being repeatedly hit by air currents and shifting temperatures in an eternal, amorphous and glorious display. Its singular composition is thus the tangible effect brought about by its own struggle. It descends with enchantment, affecting us and moving us emotionally before settling. At this point, external and internal interweave. We notice limitlessness, while contemplating a limitedness that is existing albeit decaying. It is a harakiri—a form of ritual suicide —of continuation, an urgent end in the interest of a momentary, transitory timelessness.**

TRACK LISTING:
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Vanessa Amara – Untitled 6
Ssaliva – Good2love T_T refix
Haruomi Hosono – Korendor
Amnesia Scanner – AS Crust
Ms. Thing – INOJXRABIT
Boe Strummer – Aguirre
Uurah – Mini Van Crew
Uurah – Bathr
Antwood – Virtous.scr
Mike Oldfield – Evacuation
Good Safe Person – Excerpt from “A Book Unread”
18+ – Love Was Like (Party)
Vangelis Katsoulis – Picture of Another World
Crown Shyness – Scareshen Nimzow
SPK – Breathless
WWWings – Gravity (feat. Endgame)
Hi Tom – 2 Work
Mvster Mind X DJ Blue – Eastcoast Riddim
Kentje’sz Beatsz – 11 Instrumental
WWWings – Even Angels Cry
Coil – Ravenous
Nino Rota – Satyricon
Elysia Crampton – Ax Amores
The Pitch – Frozen Orchestra: Side B


J.G. Biberkopf’s
Unthinkable radio show airs at midnight on a Friday every other month at London’s NTS Radio. This latest one aired May 14, 2016.

See here for more ‘Unthinkable’ mixes.

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Sonic Acts 2016 @ Paradiso, Feb 27

26 February 2016

Amsterdam’s inaugural Sonic Acts 2016 is presenting a monumental music line-up at Paradiso on February 27.

As part of the three-day festival programme that runs in the Netherlands capital from February 26 to 28, the Saturday event will feature producers including NON Records artists Chino Amobi, Angel-Ho and Nkisi, Janus affiliates KABLAM, Lotic and M.E.S.H., as well as J.G. Biberkopf, Sky H1, Toxe, Why BeVisionist and Anna Mikkola among others.

The newly-founded Sonic Acts academy is a new platform aiming to “grow, expand, sustain and disseminate stimulating discourse about artistic research”. This year the associated festival programme and its ‘Dark Matter’ theme feeds into the academy’s ongoing investigations into nature, culture, technology, and ecology, and what it calls ‘Dark Ecology’ and ‘The Geologic Imagination’ within the Anthropocene era.

See the Sonic Acts website for details.**

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Unthinkable w Renick Bell + Ling February 20 mix

23 February 2016

Produced in partnership with aqnb, this month’s Unthinkable segment for NTS Radio  features contributions from Renick Bell and Ling. The mix, which also includes tracks by Nkisi, Mica Levi, Clara Mondshine, and Carla Bley, is characterized by a liveliness —be it a live performance or in relation to living persons: to continue in existence, operation and memory; to feed or subsist. It resonates with concern for experience, personal encounters, with reference to causes, conditions and effects.

Tokyo-based musician and programmer Renick Bell works with improvisation, algorithmic composition and live coding. It’s what he calls “the interactive control of algorithmic processes through programming activity”, in his ‘Data Visualisation Tools for Enhancing Live Coding Usability and Audience Experience‘ paper, “…by custom projected for an audience to see”.  Bell’s contribution includes an excerpt of Joanne’s London Algorave set and his own Fractal Beats, alongside tracks by Toxe, Sentinel, Rosen, and x/o.

In turn, Liverpool-based producer Ling’s recent Attachment EP deals with habitual mental tendencies, instinctual interpretation of information and internal responses. Here, interaction expands from the immediate setting of a live performance projected for an audience, to a living performance based on one’s own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc., and the act of looking within oneself.

Between the two of them, pragmatism is paramount with an emphasis on practicality — that is, “as a philosophical approach that clearly defines an idea and sees how it works ‘within the stream of experience’ to show how ‘existing realities may be changed’”, writes Renick Bell in his ‘Considering Interaction in Live Coding through a Pragmatic Aesthetic Theory‘. In other words, it follows what Ling calls “the idea that taking an instinctual interpretation of information potentially warps and distorts reality” on the PAN website.

Listen to the mix and read the text below:

Experience —all that is perceived, understood and remembered —permeates the natural world with intensity and an unlimited ability to transform in length, volume or shape. By the arrangement of pathways, newly acquired percepts allow interpretations beyond mere sensation, by way of which significance acquires an embellished energy. These percepts belong to their own reality. In fact, when applied as paths of access, immediate characteristics are no longer separable, and achieve significance that is otherwise controlled by a system of connected elements. With this, they are caused to become in immediate connection with the remaining world. Experience doesn’t regard objective elements, as mountains, trees, animals and rivers, separable from subjective elements of the thinking subject, such as moods and attitudes; rather, it holds them as part of a complex whole. Life itself stands for action or activity, wherein living things and their surroundings are contained. **

TRACK LISTING:
[J.G.]
Clara Mondshine – Lo and Li
Carla Bley & Paul Hanes – Stay Awake
Golden Living Room – Losing It (For The Princess)
Mica Levi – Love

Ling Mix

Nkisi – Mokonzi

Renick Bell:
Joanne – London Algorave 18.12.16 (excerpt)
Jelena Glazova – Melting Clone
Slub – 20020525 (excerpt)
Alo Allik – 151223_165803
Holger Ballweg – cc13
Calum Gunn – Wiper
Smell in Stereo – Attention Deficit Disorder (part A)
Alo Allik – 151229_045817
Metome – LucyI & Itch Stopping
Renick Bell – Fractal Beats 160116c
Toxe – Let Me Thru
Onion – Dragonfly
Smell in Stereo – Attention Deficit Disorder (part B)
Yearning Kru – Reeds Fledge in Fur
Sentinel – Freak
Renick Bell – Fractal Beats 16011709
Yaporigami – In Love
Yaporigami – Her Hand Tenderly
Rosen – Lliimm
x/o – ???
Zolitude – LOR
Danelaw – The Waever + Big Narstie acapella
Luuma – Below Theia
Swivelized Sounds – Can I See the Peoples
Kindohm – Colder
Calum Gunn- Chordarray
Alo Allik – 151228_203816
Renick Bell with Meuko!Meuko! – As They Are

J.G. Biberkopf’s Unthinkable radio show airs at midnight on a Friday every other month at London’s NTS Radio. This latest one aired February 20, 2016.

See here for more ‘Unthinkable’ mixes.

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Unthinkable w J.G. Biberkopf December 5 mix

18 December 2015

Produced in partnership with aqnb, this month’s ‘Unthinkable’ segment for NTS Radio from Lithuanian producer J.G. Biberkopf relates to research into fluidity and decentralisation. On the whole, there’s an airy disposition, as it implicates breath, as respiration necessary to life; the inhalation and exhalation of air — air that forms the atmosphere — but also in the sense of exposure; of circulation and publication. It corresponds further to a frame of mind; specifically mindfulness — the state or quality of being attentive and aware. At the close, it correlates this with the inclusion of ‘Guided Mediation with Dr. Miles Neale – Brief Mindfulness of Breathing’.

It is also represented in the succession of tracks — a wavering, mutable, unconstrained selection that includes pieces by Gatekeeper, Valerio Tricoli, Chris Watson, Fis, MC Colibri, and Eliane Radigue, as well as Unthinkable alumni such as DJWWWW and Knives label-head Kuedo. Following on from last month’s concern for the voice, this month’s Unthinkable tethers the mind deeper to the self in the direction of breathing — still of utterance of words, but also of a moving or blowing, as of wind, and the manner of articulating.

Listen to the mix and read the text below:

 

Unthinkable – 5th December 2015 by Nts Radio on Mixcloud

 

A computer network is a self-organised system with the capacity to impel large-scale transformations in meditation (continued thought). Specifically, the faculty of thinking may transfer away from modes distinguished by objects’ necessary properties, in the direction of non-linearity. At the same time, a likening of inanimate with animate, breathing systems demonstrates conformity in their mechanisms.

For the individual, taking part may bring about alterations such as a switch from a doctrine of essentialism to one that reality is known only in terms of the perspectives of it seen at particular moments. As a result, the ability to judge truth, merit, etc. according to context may spawn — just as fish spawn masses of eggs — as well as cultivating a refined awareness of the self as a system of connected individuals.

Equivalent designs and forms come into sight all over the natural world, and this is not simply a chance occurrence — all of these forms participate jointly in fundamental mechanisms, which bear the emergence of designs on account of self-organisation. Nature’s designs grow without mention of scheme, authoritative direction, or command given to carry out a particular operation, but rather arise instinctively out of interplay between parts.

In natural and biological systems, self-organisation has been called upon to account for the outer coverings of animate beings — the patterns of stripes on a Zebra, for example. Here, the growth of design draws in organised groups or communities of associated individuals, whose small-scale interplay engenders multicoloured, eventful substance. **

TRACK LISTING:

I
Philip Samartzis – General Electric
Youtube – (Cover) I Need You Lord Jesus
Underwater Sound Specialists – Dolphin Sounds: Relaxing Sounds of Nature, Underwater Sounds for Meditation and Relaxation, Stress Relief, Deep Sleep, Yoga and Tai Chi
Music For Deep Meditation – The Chakra of Creativity, Swadhisthana – Om in the Key of D
Gatekeeper – Imax
Valerio Tricoli – In The Eye Of the Cyclone
Piano Brothers – We Are The World
Chris Watson – Lechten
DJWWWW – $ega World //// Soviet Union Anthem
Toure Kunda – Sidi Yella
Mala Ganguly & David Vito Gregoli – Sati
Gatekeeper – Tree Drum
Levy Productions Arnhem – Zuid Battle
Kink Gong recording archive – Duo Uyghur
Maeva Tahiti Tahitian Folkloric Group – Huti Huti
Helena Gough – Spores
Skrillex, Diplo, Kiesza – Take U There
Oneohtrix Point Never – Zebra
Fis – Kal
DJWWWW – Generations
Helena Gough – Protonema
Nozinja – N’wanga I Jesu
Adiemus – Adiemus
MC Colibri – Danca Do Creu
DJWWWW – DNA

II
Clara Mondshine – 1922 in Baku
Kuedo – Event Tracking Across Populated Terrain
Lindstrøm – No Release
Ben Frost – Kinetic Engagement
Gatekeeper – Visitor
TCF – DB 9F 72 A8 B4 1C 62 8A 3C 96 22 8B 5B 03 23 6F 81 16 64 76 3E 0A D8 16
Jean Micheal Jarre – Industrial Revolution Part 1
Lorenzo Senni – Superimpositions
David Crosby – I’d Swear There Was Somebody Here
Ben Frost – Flex

III
Guided Mediation with Dr. Miles Neale – Brief Mindfulness of Breathing
Eliane Radigue – Jetsun Mila (Pt.1)
Deuter – Dawn

J.G. Biberkopf’s Unthinkable radio show airs at midnight on a Friday each month at London’s NTS Radio. This latest one aired December 5, 2015.

See here for more ‘Unthinkable’ mixes.

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Survival Guide @ PANKE, Jan 17

16 January 2015

Berlin’s PANKE Culture is hosting a night of “contemporary Lithuanian artists reacting to the Internet”, called Survival Guide and featuring a slew of works and musical performances and taking place on January 17.

Inspired by Katja Novitskova’s 2010 Post-Internet Survival Guide, the night features performances by Diissc Orchestra, Dodo Mundo and Donatas Tubutis, as well as works from GlitchrŽygimantas Kurdika, Ulijona OdišarijaArt BelikovDaiva TubutytėEglė Suckmafinger, Vytautas Juozėnas, AWK and Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf, who recently released a new Video mix.

While the opener takes place on January 17, the Survival Guide exhibition runs from January 21 to January 23 and features Lithuanian artists AWK, Belikov, and Škicas Analoginis working with technology-based art.

See the FB event page for details. **

 

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Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf, Video mix

8 January 2015

“Right now, I don’t want to hear music, I want to hear the world.” Last we listened to Berlin-based producer Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf in his image mix and accompanying interview, ‘the world’ was one steeped in the paralinguistic elements of phenomena like ASMR and a fascination with the role of timbral listening in shaping our sensory perceptions. It illustrated the Lithuanian artist’s disillusionment with music as both an artform and an industry, while producing a sound that eschewed any traditional notion of a dance beat in favour of “spoken samples and raps, as well as buried breaths and gasps”.

This time around Biberkopf presents Video. It’s a peg up from the static image of the former mix title and points towards a picture’s movement in the following. As he explains via email, it’s “exploring visuality, digital materiality/new matter/hybrid reality, certain cultures, emotions, collective behaviours etc.”, while a wash of growling loops spiral across a Portugese Fado a capella, porn soundtrack and windscreen wipers. Biberkopf declined to provide an image to go along with the mix, instead agreeing to a shade off white in its place and writing that any visual representation would be “trivial and somehow forced” considering its themes. He also pointedly notes that Malevich’s ‘White on White‘ (1918) was produced nearly a hundred years ago, a product of the abstract artist’s Suprematist movement that privileges “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling” over its visual depiction.

Biberkopf does however note an earlier aqnb interview with Nate Boyce as a major influence on Video – specifically its references to the concepts of new matter and hyperformalism – in what he calls “a pretty subjective (artistic) exploration of these themes”. Without making any defined statements on his intention, the artist stresses the mix – with its opening sample of motivational speaker Dan Pink’s 2009 TED Talk on ‘The Puzzle of Motivation‘ (“if you want people to perform better, you reward them”) and closing remix of Georgia Girls and Kelela – is more a speculation on “the function of sound in the digital” and how it affects the human condition therein. If the the repeating vox pops of “accelerate creativity”, “career anxiety” and a Steve Carell The Office tantrum are anything to go by, it’s being affected in rather strange and scary ways. **

Listen to the mix and see track listing below.

TRACK LISTING:

1. Accelerate
2. EA SPORTS
3. Screen
4. Naïve
5. Trance
6. Sun
7. Interruption
8. Preacher
9. Impression V4
10. Fado 10
11. Piano Break
12. Waters V3
13. Fake
14. Bells
15. Üü
16. Öö
17. Listen
18. 8
19. Construction V3 (Remix by Georgia Girls/Kelela)
20. Voice
21. Grey / Scream
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Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf, image mix

9 May 2014

Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf takes a long, hard listen to the human voice in all its stutters and sighs. Alongside the pop hooks of his image mix, there are spoken samples and raps, as well as buried breaths and gasps; on the inhuman side, too, there are bumblebee buzzes and digital jabbering to be made out among the bleeps and churns. Fascinated by ASMR, the phenomenon in which affected people experience a pleasurable tingling in response to certain sounds (whispering being a particularly common one), this Berlin-based Lithuanian producer’s latest is a 50-minute textural dreamscape full of shuffling, hissing, breathing, living sound to delve into, and see if any of it raises a shiver.

Beyond the ticklish effect created by the sound, though, this manipulation of voices also explores the full range of vocal communication in an almost scientific way, taking a long, hard listen at all the aspects of spoken language that reach beyond words. We don’t just hear the polished singing of Biberkopf’s subjects, but their mumblings, their breaths, and every miniature inflection. In short, it’s all the paralinguistic  elements –the nuances of pitch, volume, intonation –that he’s particularly interested in searching for and extracting from music; the tics of humanness that you might almost not realise are there.

The very opening exposes the bare bones of the central vocal hook of Tronco Traxx’s strutting classic ‘Walk For Me’, isolated and occasionally running away with itself at speeds just fast enough to be uncomfortable. With no swaggering beat to accompany it, it becomes insistent and stressful, before giving way to acapellas of Kevin Gates’ ‘IHop (True Story)’ and Dream 2 Science’s ‘My Love Turns To Liquid’ that flow in and out of gushes of ambient noise. Somewhere along the way, Soul II Soul are laid bare alongside Planningtorock; genres in conversation with one another over a vast expanse of whispering, waves and silence.

We had a chat over email about how paralinguistics form characters in music, timbral listening and the beautiful vulnerability to be found in isolated vocal tracks.

aqnb: Tell me about this mix; what headspace were you in when you made it?

Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf: I was back [in Lithuania] from Berlin, mostly to see my partner, it was my 23rd birthday and few days after. The whole month before it, I was trying to narrow my horizon as much as possible, trying to destroy much of the digital-social space in my head, trying to listen more and to be more aware.

I was reading quite a lot before it.

aqnb: What kinds of things were you reading?

JGB: Mostly, anthropology. Also Plato, and I guess a bit of [Bruno] Latour.

aqnb: The mix is mostly beat-less and as far from the dancefloor as it could get. How is it designed to make the listener feel?

JGB: When I was forming the core of the mix, I don’t know if I was thinking of the listener but more engaging with the material itself. I was thinking of ASMR a lot, in terms of timbral listening. Also attention, and what you decide to pay attention to.

aqnb: Do you experience ASMR yourself?

JGB: I don’t know if i experience it. I’m certainly hyper-sensitive to timbral qualities of sounds. Cities drive me mad, and people whispering are lots of pleasure.

aqnb: In a recent interview you mentioned you were “really interested in spaces”. This feels really apparent in image: how did you approach the use of space in its recording?

JGB: Making it, I was especially aware of the medium itself, I tried to make the speakers come into being. ‘Love how the sound is constantly on the edge of breaking the fourth wall, constantly on the edge of fiction and breaking into the reality of your environment. Videodrome comes to mind.

aqnb: The human voice is used in many capacities here beyond singing. There’s a lot of focus on expression and articulation, on physically getting words out. Is this something you’ve been thinking about a lot lately?

JGB: I was sort of focused on paralanguage recently. The impact of voice beyond words. I was thinking about how paralanguage constructs the character of the individual and how wide-ranging the characters can be. Construction of new paralanguages, new identities and new meanings. The paralingustic impact in music.

I grew up listening to Dizzee and Wiley, not understanding anything of their language. But loving the personalities they construct. I’m similarly attracted to Divoli S’vere now. I feel his voice is very monumental and contemporary in a similar way.

What are you working on at the moment? Can we expect new music from you soon?

A friend of mine said she can’t watch new movies because they try to please too much. It’s the same for me with music, I guess. I feel like most of it’s trying too hard. It’s trying too hard to be attractive, to sell itself to you. It’s desperate.

I would rather listen to Sgt Pepper acapellas, drum parts, than Sgt. Pepper as a whole. Parts are more vulnerable, natural. I would rather listen to somebody speak rather than sing. I do still believe in musical fantasy, but most of it too self-oriented or delirious. I feel like my own idealism is being crippled and traumatised by the music industry.

Right now, I don’t want to hear music, I want to hear the world. **

Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf is a Berlin-based producer.

Header image by Ulijona Odišarija.

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